Saturday 23 March 2019

SF candidate attacked for McCabe radio performance

Sinn Fein’s General Election candidate Louise O’Reilly with party president Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein’s General Election candidate Louise O’Reilly with party president Gerry Adams

John Manning

'Sickening' and 'deeply shocking' is how local Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael representatives have described an RTE interview with the Sinn Féin candidate for the next General Election in Dublin Fingal where she failed to explicitly condemn the murder of Garda Jerry McCabe.

Louise O'Reilly is the Sinn Féin candidate for the Dublin Fingal constituency in next year's General Election and at the weekend, she made a controversial appearance on the Claire Byrne Show on RTE Radio where she was invited to condemn the murder of Garda Jerry McCabe and failed to do so. She has since sought to clarify her position and has stated that she does condemn the murder of Garda McCabe 'unreservedly'.

Fianna Fáil senator for the area, Senator Darragh O'Brien said he was 'horrified' by the Sinn Féin candidate's performance on RTE radio.

He said: 'The remarks made by Louise O'Reilly on national radio last weekend are deeply shocking. She was asked a straightforward question as to whether she condemned the murder of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe. Instead of condemning the murder she instead attempted to deflect the question, and remarked that the conversation was 'hilarious'. It was truly sickening to listen to.'

Senator O'Brien added: 'The mask has slipped with Sinn Féin. Ms O'Reilly says that she is a new generation of candidate, but she cannot even bring herself to condemn the murder of those that are employed to serve and protect our communities. The comments she made shows that Sinn Féin has a twisted moral compass. Sinn Féin are simply unfit to govern.'

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell also criticised Ms O'Reilly's performance on the broadcast, saying: 'I want to state my utter abhorrence that a person seeking election to Dáil Éireann would not condemn the murder of a member of An Garda Síochána.

'The murder of a member of An Garda Síochána is an attack on every man, woman and child in this State. Murder is murder. If you cannot or will not condemn it, you support it. This is a chilling but timely reminder of why Sinn Féin is not fit to govern our country.'

Ms O'Reilly took to Twitter following the show to 'clarify' her comments on the broadcast. She said: 'Re today's Claire Byrne show: To clarify, the killing of Garda McCabe was unjustifiable. I condemn it unreservedly.'

In response to questions from the Fingal Independent, Ms O'Reilly issued a statement on the issue, saying: 'The killing of Garda McCabe was unjustifiable and I condemn it unreservedly. During the programme on Saturday I was trying to make the point that all sides to the conflict had done wrong and caused a lot of hurt.

'It is an extremely difficult point to make when rounded on by four others on the panel, two of whom are using the issue for political point scoring. Of course local politicians in the area are using this opportunity to attack me for party political purposes.

'I will continue with my job of doing my best to raise issues for the people of Dublin Fingal as I put myself before them and seek their support to represent them in the Dáil.'

Fingal Independent